Global Champagne Day was on October 19, and I was invited to celebrate with a private dinner at Bel & Brio, and a champagne tasting with the chief winemaker of Champagne Lanson, Herve Dantan.
Champagne Lanson has been importing champagne to Australia since 1855. This is not unusual as Australia is the seventh largest champagne market in the world and the biggest outside Europe. Champagne Lanson has been making champagne since 1760 and is one of the oldest Champagne houses in France. In 1900, Queen Victoria granted Henri Marie Lanson the title of ‘Purveyor of Champagne to Her Majesty’ and the House has been the official supplier to the English court ever since.
Herve Dantan guided us through the tasting, explaining the history of champagne and Champagne Lanson, the champagne making process and the difference between each bottle that we tasted.
Champagne Lanson has been making champagne using the traditional method of flavouring wines without malolactic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation speeds up the wine’s aging process and gives it a stronger, less fruity flavour. Furthermore, every Champagne Lanson bottle is aged for a minimum of three-and-a-half years, longer than most other champagne houses. As a result, champagne Lanson is fresher, crisper and more fruity.
As a welcome drink, we were served Lanson Black Label Brut NV (RRP $49.99) which consists of 50 percent pinot noir, 35 percent chardonnay and 15 percent pinot meunier. Most of Lanson’s champagnes contain these three grape varieties, but in different proportions. This champagne is perfect as an aperitif.
For the starter, we were served seared yellowfin tuna with tuna mayo sauce, capers leafs, seasonal leaves salad with citrus dressing. It was matched with Lanson Noble Cuvee Brut Vintage 2000 (RRP $179.99).
For the first course, we were served spaghetti spanner crab with fresh organic tomato, chilli and herb flavoured breadcrumbs. It was served with Lanson Extra Age Brut NV (RRP $104.99).
For the main course, we ate 12 hour, slow cooked beef short ribs with whisky and dark chocolate jus, and radicchio in agrodolce almonds sliced. It was matched with Lanson Gold Label Brut Vintage 2005 (RRP $72.99).
For dessert, we had home made pastry tart with chestnut mousse, wild berry coulis and caramel threads. The last drink was Lanson Rose Label Brut Rose NV (RRP $67.99).
The food was amazing and the champagne was equally good. My favourite champagne for the night was the Lanson Extra Age Brut NV, followed by the Lanson Rose Label Brut Rose NV. But my opinion could be biased, because I tend to prefer pink champagne.
And now I would like to share some tips on storing and serving champagne that I learnt on the night:
- Never freeze your champagne, the bottle could explode
- Do not keep your bottle in the door of the refrigerator: every time you open the fridge you disturb the champagne
- Cool champagne by plunging the bottle into a bucket of ice for 30 minutes or lay the bottle down in the bottom of the refrigerator for four hours
- Store champagne in low constant temperature (around 10 degrees celsius) away from light, noise, vibrations and draughts for four hours
- The ideal temperature for enjoying and serving champagne is between 8 to 10 degrees celsius
- Avoid serving champagne in a cold glass, you could compromise the bubbles
- Avoid using a dishwasher which may hinder bubble formation
- Champagne should be enjoyed in tulip shaped glasses that are tall enough to give the bubbles room to move
Champagne Lanson is available from Dan Murphys, BWS and other select retailers.
For more information on Champagne Lanson, visit: http://www.lanson.com/en/